The £1billion offer may have been rejected, but outspoken Russian needed to shake things up with fan unrest and manager popularity at an all time low
ALISHER USMANOV’S Arsenal bid is all about the timing – and now seems like the right moment.
Our second largest shareholder has launched a £1billion takeover of Arsenal, offering Stan Kroenke roughly 100% value of the club for 71% of shares.
I’m no expert in economics however from the outside looking in, the bid looks strong.
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Kroenke holds roughly £730m worth of shares in the club, with the £1bn providing him a healthy profit on top of his investment.
And the timing of the bid shouldn’t come as a surprise.
With fan unrest and the manager’s popularity at an all time low, Usmanov has pounced upon the desire for something different at the club – and he’s likely to get plenty of support for it.
Arsenal have been treading water in the premier league for a number of years now, failing to compete seriously for a title for over a decade.
This has sparked supporter unrest, mainly towards the club’s longest serving manager Arsene Wenger – with unprecedented calls for change.
But the board’s disappearing act hasn’t got unnoticed by those disaffected, with calls for Kroenke’s head also forming part of the recent protests.
That means this bid by Usmanov will only intensify the scrutiny on the club’s American owner nicknamed “Silent Stan”, who is rarely seen or heard.
As a whole, I think many Arsenal fans are against the idea of a sugar-daddy running the club, much like Abramovich at Chelsea.
But fans have also become disillusioned by the businesslike operations above the manager, with football matters seemingly never on the agenda – and no direction given by those above the boss.
Usmanov himself has pointed the finger of blame towards the board recently, commenting on how they – including Kroenke – “bear huge responsibility” in regards to the club’s current malaise.
And it’s a comment which is unlikely to have gone down well with the suits, but was garnered Usmanov even more support from the frustrated fanbase, who have been crying out for footballing ambition to be #1 on the club’s agenda.
And that’s something which the Steel magnate, who regularly expresses his love for the club, has promised to bring.
In terms of the club’s response, I think most people expected the oligarch’s approach to be rebuffed.
All of the Premier League’s clubs are essentially cash cows, with attendances strong and TV deals only going one way.
However next season may be the first real period of change under Kroenke, with Champions League Football unlikely.
And with big stars such as Ozil and Sanchez on going into their final year, the American might get cold feet.
But the reality is that change is unlikely, and barring a miracle end to the season, this new development is likely to add to the unrest and turmoil long into the summer.
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